What are my options?
June 1, 2010 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Never signed up for selective service but need FAFSA for grad school. What now?

I am a US citizen, male, 23 years old. I did not sign up for selective service when I turned eighteen because I had (and have) moral objections to it. When I applied to college, I was in the lucky position, due to my parents, of not being eligible for FAFSA, so this was not previously an issue. Now I am looking at graduate schools and will, probably, not be able to afford it without federal financial aid. Even though I object to the selective service, I'm more pragmatic now and will do what I need to in order to get funding.

So where do I go from here? Can I just sign myself up on the SS website and voila? I just pretend there was an oversight on my part, and nothing bad will happen? I vaguely understand from my research that if you haven't signed up by age 26, you're screwed and will never be able to get any of the SS-associated benefits, but before 26 you're fine and all is forgiven-- is this correct?

posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total)
You're ok until 26.
posted by Oktober at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2010

I signed up in my early 20s because proof of registration was required for a state job. Nothing bad happened.
posted by enn at 9:17 AM on June 1, 2010

If you had moral objections to Selective Service on the basis of military service, there was and perhaps is a path for that: CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION AND ALTERNATIVE SERVICE.
posted by artlung at 9:28 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think you'll be fine, I really doubt anyone is going to try to punish you for attempting to come into compliance with the law.

FYI, there's not really a good reason to not sign up; even if you do object to military service, in the unlikely event that a draft is effected you can immediately apply for CO status, allowing you to perform educational, medical/caregiving, or conservation services instead of military service.
posted by Menthol at 9:29 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might already be signed up and not know it.

Many states now will sign males up automatically when the first get their driver's license. You can opt out, but at least for South Carolina (first state on a Google hit) you can't get a driver's license w/o letting SC sign you up. I think that is how it works in most states now.

Did you specifically opt-out or not get a Driver's license? What state are you in?
posted by xetere at 9:40 AM on June 1, 2010

this is from american university:
"Almost all male U.S. citizens, regardless of where they reside, and non-citizens living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required by Federal law to register with the Selective Service.

American University financial aid policies are designed to be consistent with Federal and State laws, including the Selective Service Law. Individuals who are required to register can do so only after they reach the age of 18 and before their 26th birthday. Those required to register who failed to do so may forfeit their eligibility for aid permanently if they cannot demonstrate that their failure to register was not done knowingly and willfully.

Aid applicants can register for the Selective Service online by selecting the appropriate option on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or at the Selective Service registration website. For more information about who is required to register or what to do if you did not register on time, go to the Selective Service System website.
Status Information Letter

If you are male, over the age of 26 and are not registered with Selective Service, then you must submit to the Financial Aid Office a Status Information Letter from the Selective Service System. This letter will either confirm that you were not required to register before the age of 26 or that you were required to register and failed to do so.

If you were required to register and failed to do so, then you must submit a written appeal to the financial aid office with adequate supporting documentation to show that your failure to register was not done knowingly or willfully."
posted by fozzie33 at 9:43 AM on June 1, 2010

It's worth checking at the Selective Service website, to make absolutely certain you aren't registered. There's a form that lets you do that automatically - just plug in birth date, SSN, and last name: https://www.sss.gov/RegVer/wfVerification.aspx
posted by Mr. Excellent at 11:08 AM on June 1, 2010

I believe that when you fill out the FAFSA application, there is a section that asks about it, and if you have not registered, you can select "register me." The FAFSA people will then send your info to the Selective Service, and you are registered automatically. They won't care that you haven't previously registered.
posted by LegateSaxon at 12:25 PM on June 1, 2010

More: just found this.

"If you are male and 25 or younger, you can use the FAFSA to register with Selective Service."
posted by LegateSaxon at 12:34 PM on June 1, 2010

In case you are still having qualms about signing up, read this previous AskMe from someone only a few years older than you.
posted by Houstonian at 6:16 PM on June 1, 2010

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